Traverse City property to be auctioned

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A very visible piece of Traverse City real estate will go on the auction block next week.

Local developer Patti Mercer acquired three adjacent lots, in separate deals in 2014 and 2016, in the Warehouse District. Together, the lots at 207, 211 and 221 W. Grandview Parkway total 325 feet of frontage on the bayfront road. The property sits between Hotel Indigo and the Traverse City Tourism visitors center.

"It turns out I need more resources than I have," Mercer said. "And my time is up with my mortgage holders."

The land will go up for auction Jan. 14 and 15 with a minimum bid of $1.9 million, she said.

Mercer Group TC, LLC had planned a four-story mixed-use project called Grandview Place that would have contained around 50 condominium units and a variety of businesses. Mercer said in 2017 that she hoped residents could move into condo units by 2019.

The site currently is being used as a staging area and parking lot for nearby construction.

The Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority in 2017 helped move Mercer's plans a step closer to reality when it approved a work plan for the site. The Authority agreed to use leftover money from a 2013 Department of Environmental Quality grant to demolish buildings at the proposed construction site and assess environmental issues.

The DEQ needed to approve a work plan aimed in part at identifying those issues, a consultant for the project said in 2017. The plan called for removing asbestos and lead paint from buildings on the three parcels, then demolishing them. It also included soil borings and groundwater samples to be analyzed for cyanide, lead and other toxic contamination.

A Phase II environmental assessment was completed, the auction website states. The old buildings are gone.

Mercer's lots are near an underground cyanide plume centered at the corner of Hall and Garland streets, the discovery of which complicated plans to build Hotel Indigo.

As the timeline stretched for the Grandview Place mixed-use project, Mercer began looking at other possible uses for the property. A Chicago company expressed interest in building a hotel there, she said, and that prompted her to further explore that idea. An official for the Marriott development flew into Traverse City to look at the property.

"He said it's the perfect site for a Marriott Autograph," said Mercer. "With an Autograph, you can do local architecture, and that's what they want it to be -- a local feel."

But Mercer said her resources have run out, and she decided it is time sell.

"I listed it with the company in September," Mercer said. "I postponed it a couple of times, but (the auction is) Tuesday and Wednesday."

"I'm kind of thinking it may go to a hotel developer, but we'll see," she said. "I'm really hoping that it goes to a developer that is community-minded."

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